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Game of Catch-Up With Blues Is to Be Avoided at All Costs


Making St. Louis work hard for its goals will be a formidable task for the Kings considering the Blues led the league with 256 and have 12 players with at least 10 goals this season.

"If we let them score three or four goals a game, we won't beat them," King defenseman Rob Blake said. "We can't have Brett Hull, [Geoff] Courtnall or [Pierre] Turgeon wheeling through the neutral zone making plays. And then have [Al] MacInnis, [Chris] Pronger, [Steve] Duchesne on the point. Those guys are too good offensively for us to compete with.

"We have to play our style in shutting the neutral zone down with aggressive forechecking and creating turnovers. . . . The longer the series goes, it's in our favor because it means that we have been beating up on them physically. Not by fighting or anything like that but by just being in the way. Teams get worn out by continuously trying to get by the big guys that we have on our team."


Goaltender Stephane Fiset said even though he was primarily a backup for Patrick Roy when Colorado won the Stanley Cup two seasons ago, he learned a great deal from the experience.

"Just watching Patrick and how he approached the playoffs was good for me," Fiset said. "How he prepared himself for the game. How long he would stay on the ice in practice. How many sticks he kept and how he handled the media. I learned a lot and I hope to use [that experience] now."

Assistant coach Don Edwards says Fiset's play should get a boost in the playoffs because he knows Jamie Storr, who has a 1.89 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in his last seven road decisions, is capable of playing.

"Steph is a very intense player, he comes and works hard every day," Edwards said. "I know that he would have liked to have the team go into the playoffs on a real high rhythm. But that didn't happen for a lot of reasons.

"I just think that it's an extremely healthy situation [to have Storr ready to play] because they push each other. I'm extremely confident that it can only help the team."


Coach Larry Robinson is glad the Kings will start the playoffs on the road when they face St. Louis in Game 1 on Thursday at the Kiel Center.

"Believe it or not, we actually play better on the road because we're more disciplined," he said. "It's when we get in [the Great Western Forum] that we want to put a show on for everybody. . . . We get all these fancy passes between the legs, stuff that drives coaches nuts."


Right wing Sandy Moger is not expected to play the first two games of the series because of a left knee injury that forced him to miss the final 12 games of the season. . . . The Kings' 20-point improvement from last season was the second best turnaround in the league; only Boston's 30-point increase was better.


(Best of seven)

* Thursday: at St. Louis, 4:30

* Saturday: at St. Louis, 4:30

* Monday: at Kings, 7:30

* April 29: at Kings, 7:30

* May 1: at St. Louis, 4:30-x

* May 3: at Kings, noon-x

* May 5: at St. Louis, 4:30-x

x-if necessary; all times Pacific

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